One of the reasons why the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis did not escalate into a war was due to the diplomacy of Adlai Stevenson in the UN. Are there other instances where the defusing of a serious crisis could be attributed to UN diplomacy?

Edit: I'm looking for instances where the defusing of highly tense brink-of-war situations were attributed to actions either directly or indirectly involving the UN.

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    I have modified this question so that it can be answered much more objectively. In addition to this I have removed al the previous comments because of the way they had evolved into a discussion. I would like to suggest that we move forward with this in the modified state and see how the community responds. Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 19:08
  • Timeline of UN peacekeeping missions
    – Nathan
    Commented Apr 3, 2013 at 17:18

2 Answers 2


What comes to my mind is the Suez Crisis of 1956. After a series of engagements between Israeli and Egyptian forces, mostly on the Sinai Peninsula, a UN force called the United Nations Emergency Force was sent in to stop further hostilities.

This was during the cold war, when Israel was backed by the US, of course, while Egypt had the support of the Soviet Union. Relations between those two superpowers were not too good then. Therefore, I would say that there were parties on the brink of war (while others, Israel and Egypt, already actuall were at war) and count this an example of the UN "defusing", as you put it, a highly tense situation.

  • Part of what allowed this to be something the UN could defuse was that this particular action did not have the support of the US, where it was viewed as a retrograde colonial grab by France and the UK at the canal.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 21:33
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    UNEF was set up after the cease fire. The ceasefire had a lot to do with US diplomatic intervention (including Stirling Bond selling threats and a NATO oil embargo), in part due Soviet threats. I suppose it's hard to disentangle countries actions and their actions through the UN, but I think we have to see the UN role as limited (although it's a perfectly good thing to mention as an answer).
    – Nathan
    Commented Apr 3, 2013 at 17:12
  • Actually Israel didn't have the support of the US in '56, not just for this particular action but not in general either. The US conducted a balancing policy in regards to the region at that time, to the extent of not selling weapons to either country of the region. This ban on arms selling changed at the time of the 6day war and military support only came starting from the Yom Kippur war as an answer to the more and more trivial Soviet support for the Arab countries. Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 9:26

The United Nations has helped in various situations, but there aren't many where they have been the major presence in solving conflict. However, they have done good, such as by using pressure to encourage North/South Sudan talks.


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